Tom Williams, Baron Williams of Barnburgh

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Lord Williams

Thomas Williams, Baron Williams of Barnburgh, PC (18 March 1888 – 29 March 1967[1]) was a British coal miner who became a Labour Party politician.[2]


Born in Blackwell, Derbyshire,[3] Williams grew up in Swinton in Yorkshire, and began work in 1899 in Kilnhurst colliery.[3] He became involved in trade unionism and joined the Independent Labour Party, switching briefly to the British Socialist Party during World War I before joining the Labour Party. In 1918, he was elected as a Labour member of the Bolton-upon-Dearne Urban District Council.

He was elected at the 1922 general election as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Don Valley,[1][4][5] and held the seat until he stepped down at the 1959 general election.[6]

In Parliament[edit]

In the First Labour Government, from January to October 1924, Williams was Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Noel Buxton, the Minister of Agriculture.[2] In the Second Labour Government from 1929 to 1931, he was PPS to the Minister of Labour, Margaret Bondfield.[2]

Williams first held ministerial office in Winston Churchill's wartime Coalition Government, when he was Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries from 1940 to 1945,[2] serving under the Conservative minister Robert Hudson.[3] He was made a Privy Counsellor in August 1941.[7] In Clement Attlee's post-war Labour government, he was Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food from 1945 to 1951,[2] and after Labour lost the 1951 general election he was the opposition spokesperson on Agriculture until 1959.[2]

After his retirement from the House of Commons in 1959, he was created a life peer on 2 February 1961 taking the title Baron Williams of Barnburgh, of Barnburgh in the West Riding of the County of York.[8][9]

His autobiography, in which he gives an account of his life since childhood, was published in 1965 with a foreword by Clement Attlee.[10]


  1. ^ a b Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "D" (part 2)
  2. ^ a b c d e f Stenton, Michael; Lees, Stephens (1981). Who's Who of British Members of Parliament: Volume IV, 1945–1979. Brighton: The Harvester Press. p. 400. ISBN 0-85527-335-6.
  3. ^ a b c Taylor, Andrew (September 2004; online edn, October 2009). "Williams, Thomas, Baron Williams of Barnburgh (1888–1967)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/36930. Retrieved 8 August 2010. Check date values in: |date= (help)(subscription required)
  4. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1983) [1969]. British parliamentary election results 1918–1949 (3rd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 514. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
  5. ^ "No. 32775". The London Gazette. 8 December 1922. p. 8712.
  6. ^ "62 M.P.S Not To Stand Again For Election: Four Not Readopted". The Times. 30 July 1959. p. 4.
  7. ^ "Privy Counsellors 1915–1968". Leigh Rayment's peerage pages. Retrieved 8 August 2010.
  8. ^ "No. 42231". The London Gazette (Supplement). 27 December 1960. p. 8889.
  9. ^ "No. 42272". The London Gazette. 7 February 1961. p. 933.
  10. ^ Williams, Thomas (1965). Digging for Britain. The Autobiography of Lord Williams of Barnburgh. London: Hutchinsons of London.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
James Walton
Member of Parliament for Don Valley
Succeeded by
Richard Kelley
Political offices
Preceded by
The Lord Denham
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries
(with The Lord Moyne, to 1941;
The Duke of Norfolk), 1941–1945

Succeeded by
The Duke of Norfolk and
Donald Scott
Preceded by
Robert Hudson
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries
Succeeded by
Thomas Dugdale